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June 2015 Books Completed

June marks the end of the first half of 2015! To complete the 100 Books Challenge, you should be at 50 books for the year.  Unfortunately, I’m not quite there yet — I’m actually falling pretty far behind. But take a look at the books I finished this month.

Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mylnowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins. A lower middle-grade title about a girl whose magic is “upside-down.” To be frank, I found its constant racial labeling strange, and I didn’t like the style of writing, as it just felt insulting to children’s intelligence. Wouldn’t really recommend for most children. 2 out of 5 stars

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. An adult fantasy about a woman searching for her daughter during an apocalypse-level event. A perfect fantasy read for lovers of science fiction. Review is forthcoming at Girls in Capes5 out of 5 stars

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker. This YA fantasy is to some extent a spiritual successor to Tamora Pierce’s Tortallan universe, featuring a heroine whose problems are surprisingly modern. Not my favorite of YA fantasy, but an interesting read. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Contemporary YA romance centered around a girl whose immune disorder means she can’t leave the house and the boy next door she falls in love with. Despite what I consider a significant flaw in the book, still well-written and heart-wrenching. 4 out of 5 stars

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach. I re-read this adult space opera for this month’s Girls in Capes book club. It’s a book I really like, but some of its issues are a little too annoying for me to rate it that high. 3 out of 5 stars

Durarara!! Vol. 1 by Ryohgo Narita. This light novel starts off pretty meandering, and overall, it’s too surrealist for my personal tastes. It starts to pull together about 2/3 through the book. This series doesn’t feel like it’s for me. 2.5 out of 5 stars

What were your favorite books this June?

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Manga Review: So Cute It Hurts!! Vol. 1

I’ve got a new review of the gender-bender shojo romance SO CUTE IT HURTS!! up over at Girls in Capes!

As a shojo romance reader, I thought that his manga was very endearing and sweet, and I appreciated that the couples in the book feel very fresh as opposed to some of the really, really tired shojo romance go-tos.

On the other hand, one couple was much more developed than the other, which I thought hurt the story a bit.

Check out my review here.

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New Editor’s Letter at Girls in Capes – The Starstruck Issue

I’ve got a new Editor’s Letter up at Girls in Capes! In this month’s Starstruck Issue, I regale readers with a fascinating tale about my own experience being starstruck.

(And by “fascinating,” I mean I couldn’t talk to Tamora Pierce because I was crying too much.)

Check out my editor’s letter, including a preview of this month’s articles, over here.

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May 2015 Books Completed

Graduation and Book Expo prep made this month’s reading list pretty short. I’m hoping to catch up in June before the June 30 middle of the year!

The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole by Eric Pierpont. A middle-grade historical adventure I read for my internship. Not my most favorite MG read, but solid writing, definitely recommended for kids who love the Oregon Trail computer games. 3 out of 5 stars

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey. A re-read of an old favorite for the Girls in Capes Book Club. There are some issues on my end in terms of the book’s slightly inconsistent message, but as far as vampire romances go, this is as far as it gets for me. 3 out of 5 stars

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket. A Book Expo America title. Not as good as A Series of Unfortunate Events, but not too bad. Relies a bit heavily on wordplay and may go over a younger reader’s head. 3 out of 5 stars

So Cute It Hurts!! Vol. 1 by IKEYAMADA Go. An advanced review copy of a June 2 release from VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint. It’s cute, sweet, and endearing, addressing some issues not usually seen in manga, but may not stand out enough for a discerning reader. 3.5 out of 5 stars

What were your favorite books this May?

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Throwback Thursday: Quidditch Player Cosplay Jackets

Cosplay is a geek hobby I never really got into. Part of it was because I didn’t have access to my mom’s sewing machine while living in the college dorms. Part of it was the expense. (Because materials cost money.)

But last summer, I got a secondhand sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother, and when my publishing program hosted a Hogwarts Banquet, I decided it was time to break out the sewing machine and asked some friends if they wanted to go as Quidditch players – and make uniform jackets ourselves.

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